ARLINGTON, Va. -- The National Credit Union Administration will reduce the rate it charges federally chartered credit unions to fund its operations.

The agency's board voted Monday to cut its operating fee by 5.9% for fiscal 1994.

"We certainly support the action," said Kathleen O. Thompson, senior vice president for the Credit Union National Association, the industry's largest trade group. "We expected some adjustment. We knew there should be some adjustment down, and these numbers look like what we expected."

The move represents the largest cut in the assessment since 1985, said Herbert S. Yolles, controller for the NCUA.

The agency decided to reduce fees because assets of federal credit unions grew 8.55%, faster than its $91.9 million budget, which grew 3.3%, Mr. Yolles said.

The agency expects to collect $43.9 million from credit unions for its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1994. Last fiscal year, it collected $43.2 million. The fee helps the regulator fund operations.

Besides the fee it charges credit unions, the agency will also collect money from its insurance fund, and $700,000 from federal corporate credit unions. It collected the same amount from the corporates a year ago.

The reduction in fees won't mean big savings for most credit unions. The average-size institution with $21.6 million in assets will pay $6,275 in 1994 compared with $6,668 in 1993 -- a saving of $393.

The board also voted to convert to a calendar year, beginning Jan. 1, 1995.

The change will begin in late 1994 and be funded by the agency's reserves, which totaled $14.3 million as of Sept. 30. The three-month transition is expected to cost $1 1 million to $12 million. Beginning in 1995, credit unions will make operating fee payments in March instead of January.

The board also received a final report from a committee that studied the agency's relationship with community development credit unions.

The report recommended that examiners receive more training on how to work with community development credit unions and their employees.

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